On Friday, February 6, the CLS welcomed Stéphane Charitos, Director of Columbia University’s Language Resource Center, and Andrew Ross, Head of Learning Support Services at Arizona State University’s School of International Letters & Cultures, for a presentation on an exciting initiaitve in community-based language learning.
The CIRCLE (Community, Identities, and Research through Collaborative Language Education) Project that they introduced is intended to bring together language learners from multiple institutions to create, share, and discuss information collected from home communities. Building upon the past record of the Hispanidades project in domains of authentic community engagement, integration of qualitative research techniques, and exploration of ethnic heritage and identity issues in Spanish-language classes, CIRCLE silmilarly aims to join distally located classrooms of heritage learners studying a broad variety of languages, and also in many other disciplines intersecting with language, Charitos and Ross said.
The project-centeredness and potential for community engagement of the project, visible in some of the student media shown by Ross and Charitos (in particular, a documentary video conducted entirely in Spanish on culture, economics, and life in the Phoenix suburb of Surprise, AZ), interested the audience. Thinking of ways for Yale students to similarly conduct fieldwork, interviews, historical documentary research, and engage more broadly with community members and organizations outside the language classroom in and outside New Haven–all while sharing experiences and collaborating with students from partner schools–was and is a compelling challenge for faculty here.
Special thanks to Suzanne Young for contributions to this post.